The month of May has been an interesting one with a huge deadline I had for myself. For the past four years I have been teaching elementary art 50% at Wynyard Elementary and 50% working as a potter. The pandemic gave me some opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I launched my website and online store April 2020. As a result of the province wide school shut down I was home and teaching from home, but able to practice pottery on a full time basis. It was like it gave me a safe experiment of feeling what could actually be.
In the summer of 2020, I realized that maybe I wanted to try to be a full time artist and see if I could make it work. I also realized that during a pandemic where there is so much uncertainty that you don't quit a permanent secure job to see if you can follow your artistic passion. So I set a personal deadline of May 15, 2021 to decide if I wanted to take a year from teaching and try the full time artist gig!
Well this year of juggling increased pottery and teaching in person during a pandemic I realized something had to give. When I taught highschool, I would say to my grade 11 and 12s "what are you doing right now, why wait til you graduate to really do what you are passionate about?" Well a few days before my personal imposed deadline I decided to take my advice..."don't wait til you retire to try doing pottery full time". So I got approved to take a year away from teaching and try the full time artist life. I am beyond excited for this upcoming year of possibilities, of focusing on one career and not juggling two.
I let my blog and newsletter sit through the month of May so that I could really decide how I would let everyone know and also put together something fun as I transition from art teacher to artist. You will be getting more information about the whole countdown campaign for June tomorrow in your inbox, I wanted this Studio Story to really highlight this big decision and the excitement of the possibilities of the future.
Now I want to highlight a few lessons I learnt while juggling two 50% careers during a pandemic. The circumstances of both careers this past year made it feel like I had two full time jobs. The protocols that were put in place at school to keep everyone safe have been very taxing and stressful. They are very important, but hard! I adjusted how I teach by having to go to everyone's classroom rather than move students in and out of my classroom. This opportunity allowed me to reflect and pivot my teaching so that I was trying hard to inspire and build relationships with the students even more than I usually do. I love teaching, but realized that is only a part of my whole being.
In the spring of 2020, my pottery business skyrocketed with the website and that my highway store was already set up for pandemic shopping. The honour system became perfect to allow people to shop safely and Freba Pottery on highway 16 became a destination during lockdown because it got them out, but in a safe way. The website allowed more subscription boxes to be sold, and some of my products to be purchased not in person. The growth I have experienced has been incredible, but I also realized many many time that I could not maintain the growth and my health, my teaching career, my family life. So this decision of being a full time potter will allow me to be intentional in my pottery business, my family life and look after my health.
I appreciate all of my customers this past year, and some have had to wait for pottery way too long or responses from myself. Well know that I am working on my intergrity and my business and my artist passion to ensure that the growth I experienced in Freba Pottery over the past year is not a hinderance, but an opportunity moving forward. I will be in the studio full time beginning July 1st and that is sooooooooo exciting. Deadlines for my pottery boxes will be my first priority with removing the pressure of teaching from my plate for this year. Increasing inventory in the highway store, so when you stop you have variety to fall in love with. Thank you for being part of this crazy path of me following my passion and making it happen!!!